…It’s more likely than you’d think.
The grand debut of Professora Lundqvist, Colonel Dieterich, and dear, dear Charles is now up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies! “A Serpent in the Gears” was such a fun story to write, beginning to end, and I loved every part of it. In fact, I love this universe and want to have its steampunk babies write much more in it someday.
Here’s an excerpt. Go and read; I’ve had so much fun with this, and I hope you enjoy it too.
The captain pointed to a lens behind the helmsman. A gray cliff face, cut into deep letters of ten different scripts, receded from our view. “We’ve just passed the graven warning.”
I peered at the bow lenses, trying to get a better look at the warning itself. When I was a child, I’d heard stories (all disdained by my teachers) that the warning had been inscribed into the side of the mountains by an automaton the size of a house, etching the words with a gaze of fire. When I was older, my age-mates and I played at being the team engineered solely for the job of incising those letters, hanging from convenient walls and making what we thought were appropriate rock-shattering noises to match. After such tales, small wonder that my first view of the warning, some twenty years ago, had been so disappointing. Yet I could still recite by heart its prohibition against entering the valley.
The lenses, however, showed no sign of it. Instead, most displayed the same sight: a confection like matching wedding cakes on the mountainsides flanking the pass, the consequences for those who defied the graven warning. Thousands of snub spouts pointed towards us, ranging from full cannon-bore to rifle-bore, the latter too small to see even with the ship’s lenses. My eyes itched to adjust, and I felt a pang just under the straps of my andropter harness, where most men had hearts.